Re: Jed - Bothvarr, lines 30-48
- --- Gerald Mcharg wrote:
> This is a freer translation than is usual even for me because Iwasn't happy with the way the words were coming out in English when I
tried to keep close to the text.
Thanks for your efforts. The form you have given this
makes it into a good excercise, I think.
I mean, also for those who read your translation.
I will comment below.
But let me say first that I too feel uncertain about
many things - which is what keeps it at the level
where it is challenging.
> Boðvarr Bjarki lines 30 - 48 A quiet evening mealHöttr er settr á bekk upp,
> Eptir þat kveldar ok drifa menn í höllina ok sjá Hrólfs kappar at
> After that evening came and men thronged in to the hall and Hrolf'swarriors saw that Hott was seated up on a bench,
C: Here one needs to look up the verb.
That is because In English there are two verbs: to sit
and to set. In Old Norse, in Zoëga, I find both
setja (set, setta, settr), and sitja (sit; sat, sátum; setinn).
It is setja that has the same form of the participle as in the text.
The question now is whether he Höttur was merely "sitting"
on a bench or whether he had been "set" (placed) on a bench
- put on display as it were.
> ok þykkir þeim sá maðr hafa gört sik orit djarfan, er þetta hefir
> and it seemed to them that this man had made himself brash enough,when he presumed to do this.
C: Personally I would have preferred a translation from
which one can see the meaning of individual words.
For example, if someone asks what the word "orit" means,
then it is not straightforward to glean this from your
>hefir ilt eitt af þeim reynt,
> Illt tillit hefir Höttr, þá er hann sér kunningja sína, því at hann
> Hott had some evil looks when he saw the ones he knew, because hehad experienced ill treatment from them,
C: I wonder if this "lit" is the same as "litur" (colour).
(I can look into that, once I get to my etymological
dictionary, which I don't have with me now)
Any way, it is not clear from your translation whether
it were the others who gave Höttur "bad looks" (pl.), or
whether it was Höttur himself who had "a troubled look"
(sg.) upon his face, when he saw the others coming.
I too am not sure what "eitt" means here.
But my first thought would be to look in Zoëga under
"einn" (=one), because "eitt" is merely the neutrum
form of einn. Thus, my feeling is that "einn"
is used for persons, and "eitt" for things. But that
needs to be checked by using a dictionary with more
examples than can be found in Zoëga.
>heldr honum, svá at hann
> hann vill lifa gjarnan ok fara aptr í beinahrúgu sína, en Böðvarr
> he was eager to stay alive and return to his pile of bones, butBothvar held him, so that he
>höggum þeira, ef hann næði þangat at komask, sem hann er nú
> náir ekki í brottu at fara, því at hann þóttisk ekki jafnberr fyrir
>exposed to their blows on all sides, as he was now, if he could
> could not get away, because it seemed to him that he would not be
manage to get there.
C: I had some trouble with the word "jafnberr".
After consulting Zoëga, where jafn and berr were only
listed separately, and not in combination,
I think I'll settle for "equally bare". Then I see
that that is the option you have chosen as well,
for "bare" is the same as "open" or "exposed".
But I would simply translate by "equally exposed" and not
add anything about "from all sides", since that was
somewhat confusing at first.
>gólfit til Böðvars ok Hattar.
> Hirðmenn hafa nú sama vanda, ok kasta fyrst beinum smám um þvert
> The men in the hall kept to their usual custom and at first theythrew small bones across the floor at Bothvar and Hott.
>C: "Hirdmen" seems difficult to translate.
Guards or soldiers perhaps?
"The king's men" might actually be the best option,
since that is what they were.
>tekr eigi mat né drykk,
> Böðvarr lætr sem hann sjái eigi þetta. Höttr er svá hræddr at hann
> Bothvarr pretended he did not see this. Hott was so frightened thathe would neither eat nor drink,
C: I notice you have let everything take place in the past tense.
Perhaps that is better in English?
>Höttr til Böðvars: 'Bokki sæll,
> ok þykkir honum þá ok þá sem hann muni vera lostinn. Ok nú mælti
> and thought at every moment that he would be hit. And now Hottspoke to Bothvarr, 'Bokki saell,
>C: "lostinn" is perhaps worthy of a comment, because it
is not found directly in this form in the dictionary.
Here one needs to "know" that it derives from the verb
ljósta (lýst; laust, lustum; lostinn), and it means to
strike - which means that your translation is correct!
(although I am uncertain if "could" is not better than "would".
I seem to recall the two forms hann mun, as well as hann muni.)
>Böðvarr bað hann þeggja.
> nú ferr at þér stór knúta, ok mun þetta ætlat okkr til nauða'.
>hurt us.' Bothvar told him to be quiet.
> a lot of knuckle-bones are coming at you, and this is intended to
> Hann setr við holan lófann ok tekr svá við knútunni; þar fylgir
>were attached to them.
> He cupped his hands and so caught the knuckle bones; the leg joints
C: Zoëga has lófa m. = palm, and so it seems your translation
is basically correct. But here too there is a difference between
hann sitr and hann setr. I note btw that holan lófann ought
to be an accusative singular, hence it seems to me that he uses
only one hand. Maybe a little bit like catching a baseball.
I wonder if "setja við" ought not to be read as a unit, as
a standard phrase with a fixed meaning. It would then mean
that he put his hand up in the air, so as to stop the object
that was thrown at him, so that "setja við" then ought to be
read as "to put up" or some such similar meaning.
>framan í hann með svá harðri svipan at hann fekk bana.
> Böðvarr sendi aptr knútuna ok setr á þann sem kastaði, ok rétt
>had thrown it, and it got him in the face with so hard a knock that
> Bothvarr sent the knuckle joint back and hurled it at the one who
it killed him.
>or 'eitr', - 'poison', 'bitterness', 'malice'
> Sló þá miklum ótta yfir hirðmennina.
> Then the men were struck with a great fear.
> line 33. 'eitt'. Is the the accusative of 'eiðr' - 'oath',
>of this, so I've kept to the original because to me it sounds better.
> line 42. 'Bokki sæll'. I'm not happy with any of the translations
Why not? As English speakers we are quite happy to use the honorific
or polite titles such as 'sahib' from India or 'bwana' from the
Swahili or even the French 'monsieur'.
>Zoëga has simply "my dear fellow".
Bokki m. = fellow or man.
I don't know if it is comparable to a title, such as you
quote in your example. (by title I mean a name that
is used to express reverence, such as "lord" or "master"
>this means 'receive in the (hollow) palm of the hand', which helps us
> line 44. 'Hann setr við holan lófann' Gordon informs us that
neither grammatically nor semantically. Zoga and Barnes are of no
help either. It is in situations like this that you feel yourself
quietly drowning. The only thing I can think of, is that 'Hann setr.'
is elliptic, with the general sense being 'he set (himself to
receive the knuckle bones) in the hollow of his hands.' Am I on
target, or has the dart gone through somebody's ear?
>lófa-tak, n. (1) hand-shake; (2) show of hands.
lófi, m. the hollow of the hand, palm (mun ek bera þat í lófa mér).
>I hope my comments will have raised some points that
are of interest, though I may not have all the correct answers -
especially since I am deprived of the good dictionary and
grammar books that I usually depend on. (And thanks to the
Midnight sun people, who put Zoëga on the web! A most useful
item to have on the net!)